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Rukmini Devi: The Woman Who Revived Bharatnatyam

The women who chose dancing over being the President of India

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Rukmini Devi could have been the President of India had she accepted an offer by the then Prime Minister in 1977. Wikimedia commons
Rukmini Devi could have been the President of India had she accepted an offer by the then Prime Minister in 1977. Wikimedia commons
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  • Rukmini Devi met Anna Pavlova, a ballerina, who inspired her to dance.
  • She revived the art-form of Bharatanatyam which was earlier associated with only the Devadasi community.
  • The women who refused the offer to become president, so she could continue with dance.

Bharatanatyam, an Indian classical dance form, one of the most widespread in India today. Several institutes of Indian art forms have Bharatnatyam as a special course. It is adored, respected and is extremely popular in the Indian society. However, not many people know that once it was considered ‘vulgar’, and a ‘low-caste practice’ as it was limited to Devadasis.

Not until a married woman from a Brahmin family adopted the dying art form and eventually revived it, was Bharatnatyam came to be accepted in ‘Bharat’. She was Rukmini Devi, the women who established Kalakshetra Academy.

You may also like: Traditional dance representing cross-cultural connection of India and Paisley 

Anna Palova was the one who inspired Rukmini Devi for the art of dance. Wikimedia commons
Anna Palova was the one who inspired Rukmini Devi for the art of dance. Wikimedia Commons

A ballerina

Russian ballerina Anna Pavlova was in Bombay in 1928. Rukmini Devi and her husband, a prominent British theosophist Dr. George Arundale, had gone to see her performance.

Later, the couple was on the same ship as her to their journey to Australia, where Pavlova was to perform next. Rukmini and Anna become close friends during the journey. Soon Rukmini started learning dance from Anna’s leading solo dancers, Cleo Nordi.

Eventually, on the advice of Anna, she started discovering Indian dance forms which were dying. Her life would remain dedicated to the objective of reviving these arts.

Bharatnatyam is an art form revived by Rukmini Devi. Wikimedia commons
Bharatnatyam is an art form revived by Rukmini Devi. Wikimedia Commons

The first performance

It was at the Annual Conference of Madras Music Academy, in 1933, that Rukmini Devi saw, for the first time, a performance of Sadhir (Bharatnatyam).

And in 1935, she gave her first public performance at the Diamond Jubilee Convention of the Theosophical Society.

This event was noted in history. It received widespread attention. There was some confusion and remaining anger within conservative sections of the society.

Though the major mark was, it opened gates for an average Indian girl to enter the dance form and cherish it. It somehow was the beginning of a reverse effect.

Read more: Ramli Ibrahim: A Malaysian steeped in Indian classical dances 

Revival

Bharatnatyam was earlier associated to the Devadais. Wikimedia commons
Bharatnatyam was earlier associated with the Devadasi. Wikimedia Commons

Bharatnatyam is a form which is at the center of global attention, Rukmini Devi had an unmistakable role in this.

  • She was successful in eliminating the extraneous ‘Sringaar’ and eroticism from the dance form, which was a legacy of Devadasis.
  • She introduced various new elements. For example musical instruments like violin, set and lighting design elements, innovative costume, and jewelry that was inspired by temple sculptures.
  • Dance dramas based on epics like Ramayana and Gita Govinda were a result of Rukmini Devi’s associated with noted scholars and artists with whom she collaborated.

Kalakshetra Academy

Rukmini Devi, along with her husband, established Kalakshetra academy of music and dance. It functioned under the Gurukul system.

Today, the academy is a deemed university having a 100-acre campus. It is considered one of the best and most reputed universities for learning classical Indian art forms.

Names like Radha Burnier, Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay and Yamini Krishnamurthy have emerged from Kalakshetra.

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Facts About Parliament Of India You Didn’t Know Before

Parliament of India is the supreme legislative authority in India

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Parliament of India is a source of interest for many people because of various reasons. Wikimedia Commons
Parliament of India is a source of interest for many people because of various reasons. Wikimedia Commons

By Ruchika Verma 

  • Parliament of India is the supreme legislative authority in India
  • Indian Parliament is divided into two houses – Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha
  • Indian Parliament is one of the biggest and has a very intricate architecture

Parliament of India is the supreme legislative body in India. It controls and creates all the bills and laws in the country. Parliament of India is bicameral. It is divided into two parts namely Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha. Lok Sabha is called the Lower House and Rajya Sabha is referred to as the Upper House.

Parliament of India is the largest legislative authority in India.
Parliament of India is the largest legislative authority in India.

Rajya Sabha has 238 members wheres the Lok Sabha seats are 545 is number. The term of Rajya Sabha and Lok Sabha are 6 years and 5 years respectively. The head of the Parliament of India is the Indian President. The proceedings in Lok Sabha is controlled by the speaker of Lok Sabha whereas, in Rajya Sabha, there is a chairman.

Apart from these basic facts, here are some other interesting Indian Parliament facts you may not have known before:

  • Parliament of India is called the Sansad or Bhartiya Sansad
  • The Parliament of India is circular in shape which represents the “Continuity.” The Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha halls are constructed in the shape of a horseshoe.

    The carpet colours of the halls of Lok sabha and Rajya sabha also hold significance. KPN
    The carpet colours of the halls of Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha also hold significance. KPN
  • The carpets in the halls of the Parliament of India are also very significant. Lok Sabha’s hall’s carpet is green in colour which represents the people that are elected from grass root level. The hall of Rajya Sabha is adorned with red carpet which denotes royalty and is a constant remembrance of the struggle faced by our freedom fighters.

Also Read: Lok Sabha passes the Footwear Design and Development Institute Bill, 2017

  • The library in the Parliament House is the second largest library of India after the National Library in Kolkata.
  • Indian Parliament has a canteen, and it is the cheapest canteen in the country with a 3-course veg meal available for Rs. 61 only.

    Parliament of india is circular in shape which denotes continuity.
     Indian Parliament is circular in shape which denotes continuity.
  • Rishang Keishing is the oldest members who served the Parliament of India. He was a member of Rajya Sabha twice and retired at the age of 92.
  • The first female speaker of Parliament of India was Meira Kumar.
  • According to rules between two sessions of parliament, there should not be a gap of more than 6 months.

Also Read: Reservation Quota for Women in Parliament finds support at Kumaon Literature Festival

  • In Parliament of India, as per common practice, Question Hour starts at 11 a.m. where MPs put forward their questions. The Zero Hour starts at 12 noon where MPs can discuss general questions.
  • The office of President in the Parliament is in the room no. 13, which is considered inauspicious by many.